Latest News Editor's Choice


News / National

Zimbabwe judges told to postpone pending criminal charges

by Staff reporter
30 Mar 2020 at 08:12hrs | Views
CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba has directed judges of all superior courts and magistrates to postpone pending criminal and civil matters in response to the 21-day national lockdown declared by President Mnangagwa to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Litigants are also barred from filing any new court applications save for urgent ones and bail applications.

In a statement yesterday, CJ Malaba also cancelled all auctions, summonses and subpoenas, which have been issued to accused persons and witnesses directing them to appear in court between today and April 19. He said the directive, which takes effect from today, shall remain in force until the end of the lockdown period.

"All summonses and subpoenas issued directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between 30 March 2020 and 19 April 2020 are cancelled and shall be reissued after the expiry of the lockdown period. All sales in execution are hereby stayed for the duration of the lockdown period and this practice direction takes effect from 30 March 2020 and shall remain in force until 19 April 2020, unless earlier extended," said CJ Malaba.

"With effect from 30 March 2020, the filing of new cases, all process and pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the national lock down. Subject to existing limitations, only initial remands, urgent applications and bail applications may be entertained."

He said all pending criminal cases on remand shall be automatically rolled over for a period of at least 21 calendar days to ensure that cases currently before the courts do not fall out of the system.

"All pending civil cases are deemed to have been postponed as follows; for the Magistrates' Court, matters shall be deemed to have been postponed to the first business day following the last day of the lockdown period. For the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court, Labour Court and Administrative Court, the matters are deemed to have been postponed to the first day of the second term," he said.

He directed registrars of the superior courts to reset the matters down in consultation with the parties.

CJ Malaba said the time limited by any rule for the filing of process and pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the national lockdown.

"Any act required by the rules to have been done during the period of the lockdown within a specified period of time, shall be done within the specified limit calculated from the first business day following the last day of the lockdown period," he said.

Last week, CJ Malaba directed that all trials, non-urgent hearings and civil weddings be deferred for at least two months. Courts will, however, continue to hear bail applications and initial remands, where there are constitutional rights involved, and will continue to hear urgent matters.


Source - chronicle

Subscribe

Email: